BILLY BRAGG – ” The Million Things That Never Happened “

Posted: October 29, 2021 in MUSIC
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One of the great human beings of Planet Earth, Billy Bragg has been mixing pop and politics with compassion and wit for 40 years and, unlike some of his contemporaries, has continued to evolve, look forward and consider the bigger picture. “As a mid century modern geezer, I’m aware that my notions of personal relationships were formed almost fifty years ago, likewise my politics,” Billy says. “To cling to that and imagine that you’ve nothing to learn from younger generations, you’re in danger of becoming a dinosaur. Kids have got new priorities and new ideas. Thatcher’s dead. The world has moved on. I’m trying to respond to the things I’m hearing now, rather than reminding folk of ‘the good old days’.”

One thing that Bragg does better than almost anyone is mix the personal with the political, bringing a relatable point of view to his most strident material, as well as his tender love songs (few are as observant to the slings and arrows of relationships). Written and recorded during the 2020 of the pandemic, Black Lives Matter, Brexit and the U.S. presidential election, The Million Things That Never Happened has the personal and the politically intertwined like never before. There are songs about personal accountability (“Shoulda Seen it Coming,” “The Buck Doesn’t Stop Here No More’), aging and death (“Pass it On,” the title track), and changing with the changing times (“Mid Century Modern,” “Ten Mysterious Photos That Can’t Be Explained.”).

The production on the album by The Magic Numbers’ Romeo Stodart and Dave Izumi is warm and soulful, like Billy’s voice, with mellotron giving songs a surreal thread that fits the times in which it was created, the weirdest two years most of us have ever experienced. The album’s most effective moment, though, is also its most simple and direct. “I Will Be Your Shield” is a song about the power of love and friendship in the times of deepest strife, that is little more than Billy and a piano. “When things start to unravel / And days fill you with dread / When comments dent your confidence / Confide in me instead.” While the world changes by the minute, Billy’s empathy remains steadfast.

Releases October 29th, 2021

Billy Bragg under exclusive licence to Cooking Vinyl Limited

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